Awesome names, schizophrenic poodles, and racial offensiveness.

It was tempting to stay in our Casa de breaded eggplant, mosquito net, and clean sheets in Canoa, but we had a date with an airplane coming up, so made our way back to Guayaquil, bussing first to Jipijapa, a town worth forgetting, but a name worth celebrating. Jipijapa.

There was a little longing in our gazes as we passed through Puerto Lopez. Our favorite pastry street vendor was already set up, thick wedges of soggy cake in their styrofoam cups waiting in the smudged display case. Another time, amigo.

You can take this chance to say Jipijapa a couple more times if you want.

We spent a day in Montanita, wandering through the flip-flopped tourist bonanza with something like nostalgia, and greeted like old friends by the old lady who runs the hostel. She made a series of comments in her murmured English that we think we jokes, but were too soft and weird to quite understand. Her poodle was at first happy to see us, then barked at us in that schizophrenic way poodles have. Hello and shut up, Nina.

The only other guest was a retired American teacher who looked like Indiana Jones’ drunk uncle Merle, and whose conversation alternated between bitter musings about the Good Old Days and suspicious overstatements about how he never drinks or does drugs. We started off a little slow, but were moderately chummy by the time we left. Good luck with your suspicious and nonspecified business dealings, my compatriot.

Then we were back in Guayaquil’s main bus station megacomplex, where we wandered into the sprawling food court with enthusiasm and reluctance, which go together like the rice and beans I got from a place called Menestras del Negro.

“Menestras” is beans, and the Negro? Let’s just say the restaurant chain’s logo would never work in America. Is that a bone-fork holding his little topknot of hair in place? Wow.

Full of my Negro’s beans and rice, we walked over to Guayaquil’s Metrovia bus station, crossing a pedestrian bridge over a 72 lane highway and were stared at by every other person there. One lady literally dropped her oranges as she twisted around to watch us walk past. Apparently they don’t get a lot of gringos in backpacks there? Why not?

Guayaquil has a distinct rivalry with Quito, but modeled their bus network on the capital’s. They forgot to the signs or maps saying where the hell you are, so I was peering out the window trying to see street signs (another detail they forgot) with the tiny guide book map open in my other hand. Just slightly Clueless Tourist.

A young businessman helped us, even staying on a stop farther than he needed to so he could point us towards the bus back in the right direction. Have I mentioned that Ecuadorians are awesome?

Guayaquil is known as a rough town with nothing worth seeing beyond the riverside “malecon” boardwalk, but we liked it well enough. I ate some seriously funky lunch specials, pulling shreds of meat off unidentifiable knuckle-looking chunks of bones, and K bought a hat.

I also bought the netbook I am currently using, slowly discovering how crappy a netbook can be. The operating system blows (it takes three weeks to launch the “games” folder and if you click anything else in that time it all freezes), the audio jack doesn’t accept headphones, and the worst detail: the keyboard is only semi-functional.

Our hotel had odd decor. It’d probably work better than the netbook though.

How can you produce such a crappy keyboard in 2012? My opinion of HP is seriously damaged. Think they’ll let me return it?